The natural hydrolipidic film that protects hair and skin of the head can be damaged causing itching, dryness, irritation. Here are the causes, symptoms and remedies of the main changes in the scalp
by Antonella Lobraico
Symptoms such as dryness, peeling, irritation, redness – sometimes even pain – are a clear sign that the skin of the head is not in good health. In fact, these are very common alarm bells, which can occur for a few days or for longer periods. Behind these annoying symptoms there are changes in the scalp, or specific problems that should be identified to treat them as soon as possible with targeted strategies.
The scalp is one of the skin areas of the body with a high follicular density and a high rate of sebum production. In addition to protecting the brain, the scalp has the task of lubricating this area through the sweat and sebaceous glands. However, the warm environment on the surface of the skin creates a favorable habitat for the proliferation of microorganisms responsible for some superficial fungal infections associated with many scalp problems. Some of these, for example, can occur when the skin comes into contact with styling objects that have not been thoroughly cleaned, including:
The well-being of the hair is therefore also conditioned by the health of the scalp. Here are the causes, symptoms and remedies of the main changes in the scalp.
Flaking and dandruff
Dandruff or pityrase is very common, to the point of affecting about 50% of the world population. In this case, the scalp is affected by an increase in the desquamation of horny cells for which diffuse scales (white or grayish) are formed which detach spontaneously. Dandruff can occur during puberty but can persist into old age.
The causes can be related to the natural presence of sebum, to a sensitive scalp or to Malassezia globosa, a microorganism present on both normal and dandruff scalp, which causes irritation in those with sensitive skin. There are also other factors that can make dandruff worse in some way, for example seasonal or hormonal changes, air pollution, stress.
Dandruff is easily detected through signs such as:
- peeling of the scalp;
- dry and irritated scalp;
Not just hands and face: the scalp is also an area of the body that is particularly affected by sensitivity. The main causes of sensitive skin are excessive heat or cold, allergic reactions, dry skin. And the easily encountered symptoms are:
To treat dandruff and take care of sensitive skin, it is important to carry out daily hair hygiene. It is therefore preferable to use a specific shampoo that respects the pH of the scalp and that at the same time contrasts itching and dryness typical of dandruff.
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Psoriasis is a chronic and relapsing genetic disease that occurs in limited areas of the body such as the elbows, knees, face, hands and even the scalp. It affects about 3% of the population and presents with symptoms very similar to those of dandruff. Specifically, psoriasis produces well-defined red spots covered with silvery-white scales. It can also cause itching and in some cases, hair loss. For the treatment of this scalp alteration, it is preferable to consult a specialist.
Seborrheic dermatitis, while presenting symptoms similar to psoriasis and dandruff, has more annoying and evident effects. Redness, itching, dry scalp, the presence of flakes can in fact be misleading, leading to confuse seborrheic dermatitis with dandruff. The substantial difference lies precisely in the modality in which the symptoms manifest themselves, that is, in a more clear and acute way.
Ultimately, seborrheic dermatitis causes:
- red and very inflamed patches on the scalp;
- stronger peeling;
- white or yellowish scales, therefore fatter than those typical of dandruff;
- severe itching and redness;
The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is once again Malassezia globosa, a microorganism that breaks down the sebum produced by the scalp into an irritating oleic acid, subsequently leading to the formation of lumps of cells on the same scalp.
Also in this case, it is preferable to opt for hair cleansers with a specific action and with a delicate formulation.
Pollution, sudden changes in temperature or even the use of aggressive products, in the long run, can cause dry or asteatosis skin. This condition occurs when the right supply of water and fat to the skin is lacking. Specifically, the outermost cell layers that trap moisture inside do not work as they should. The result is a leakage of hydration which causes a dry scalp. In this case, it may be useful to restore the skin's natural balance by rehydrating it with a mild and clinically tested shampoo.
To preserve hair from scalp alterations, it is therefore essential to first determine the causes and then implement a strategy aimed at counteracting the appearance of symptoms. Most of the time, using a specific shampoo is the simplest and most effective remedy.